Local spring athletes eagerly waited for the CIACâ€™s announcement regarding the upcoming season on Wednesday morning and were relieved to know that their season hadnâ€™t been permanently buried.
The CIAC, after meeting with nearly 70 conference and school officials, decided that an indefinite suspension of spring high school sports was the best immediate course of action, and the organization stated a strong desire to do whatever is possible to have a season in some form, even an abbreviated one with a later end date.
For the spring athletes, especially local seniors who are hoping to have one more chance to play at the high school level before their careers come to a close, Wednesdayâ€™s news was a warm welcome, even if the nature of that decision could change by the time the CIAC meets next week.
â€śI was very excited about that,â€ť said Maggie Cronkhite, senior captain of the Plainville girls tennis team. â€śI was hoping they wouldn't cancel it, so I'm very excited about the outcome.â€ť
Cronkhite was relieved to know her final season with the Blue Devils hadnâ€™t been written off yet just, but still canâ€™t shake the thought that this might only serve as a delaying of the inevitable. Still, knowing that hope will last for another week or so was enough of a relief for her and her teammates.
â€śI was preparing myself for a cancellation just because of everything going on with larger sports organizations like the NBA and NHL,â€ť Cronkhite said. â€śI know the team I'm going to play for in college [Fairleigh Dickinson University] just canceled their season as well, so that made me nervous. But I'm glad this was the outcome and that we still have a chance.â€ť
In New Britain, Justin Adorno has also been hoping his final season with the Hurricanes baseball team wouldnâ€™t be canceled before it could begin and the CCSU commit shared a similar cautious optimism as Cronkhite when he learned that for now, the 2020 season is still alive.
â€śWe were all happy, but we're still worried a little bit,â€ť Adorno said. â€śBut we're eager for the season to happen.â€ť
During Wednesdayâ€™s video press conference, CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini expressed the organization has not ruled out pushing the end of the season back past graduation, though Lungarini noted potential conflicts with other seasons like AAU and American Legion that are supposed to be starting at the end of June, but Cronkhite believes it wouldnâ€™t be difficult to get spring athletes on board to play for their school, even after school lets out.
â€śWe'll have to see what's going on with the virus through the next couple of months, but I feel like the athletes definitely would play through the end of June, especially the seniors,â€ť Cronkhite said. â€śThey would love to play their last season and do anything to play if it were an option.â€ť
Adorno and the Hurricanes are willing to play through any kind of season, no matter how itâ€™s constructed. As long as it entails teams getting to play in some capacity before the season is over, theyâ€™ll take it.
â€śI'm hoping for a shortened season with some playoffs,â€ť Adorno said. â€śThat would be really nice. I'm hoping and praying for that.â€ť
Some of that hope was rewarded on Wednesday, with the announcement that the CIAC, like the players that have still been practicing on their own, havenâ€™t given up on the spring season.
That has the potential to change quickly, as many things have due to the coronavirus outbreak, but for now, local athletes can take comfort in the fact that their season hasnâ€™t suffered the same fate as the winter season, at least not yet.
â€śIt definitely gave me more hope,â€ť Cronkhite said. â€śIt's showing their considering it and taking every option they have into account. They're not just going and canceling it. They're actually thinking it through and pushing it back, which is good in the long run.â€ť
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or email@example.com